The Fermi Paradox


Where is everybody? That was the reaction of physicist Enrico Fermi after an afternoon drinking coffee with fellow scientists who were contemplating the Drake Equation which (simply) states, based on probability, that there must be numerous examples of intelligent life extant on other planets in the Milky Way:

N = R_{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L

There are those who would argue that there is a ton of evidence that alien civilizations HAVE visited earth but for some reason have decided to keep their presence here a secret.


Once you derive the value of pi from that photo, let’s turn our attention to the TOP PARADOXES  of the 2015/16 hockey season.

  1. Following are the top 10 teams in the league in Corsi For% thus far:

STL – 57.9

LAK 57.1

CAR 54.4

TOR 53.2

CLB 53.1

WSH 52.9

CHI 52.8

DAL 52.3

ANA 51.9

MIN 51.8

Fully 4 of those 10 teams are currently out of a playoff spot and a couple, Anaheim and Columbus have 2 wins combined this season.

Now, we should be able to test, going forward, whether or not actual results will flow from having a stellar Corsi record or whether it is Corsi itself that will regress. Go figure.

2. Woke up this morning to find Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin atop the NHL scoring race. While that is no surprise, what is shocking is that they haven’t played all that well to date. I’ve watched every Stars’ game this season and Seguin, in particular, while among the league’s leaders in SOG, has been missing the net a lot and his shooting percentage is a full 2 percentage points below last year. I have no doubt he will soon find the range and, when he does, stand back!

3. No surprise either that the Edmonton Oilers have a worse record than last year in these early days. It’s important to remember that, save for a one in a million miss by Daniel Sedin on a goal mouth tap in, the Oilers record would be 2-5 and likely 2-6 after tonight’s game against the Kings. Once again the Oilers are trying to play NHL hockey with 6 or 7 bottom 4 defensemen and the results, despite some decent goaltending, have been predictable.

4. Speaking of the Oilers, it’s also no surprise that C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has seen his offensive production drop now that Connor McDavid is getting the cherry minutes. Hopkins has only 4 points (on pace for a 40 point season) and his P/60 is a paltry 1.46. As a point of reference, the aforementioned Tyler Seguin is running a 4.48 P/60. Some Oiler apologists will try to tell themselves that’s because Hopkins is facing the “toughs” ands totally ignore that Seguin is too and getting much, much better results.

5.We would be remiss not to revisit the 2010 draft now that the requisite 5 seasons have passed and we a pretty good idea of what these players are now.

Here’s how the prominent forwards look this season after 1/10 of it has passed.

Seguin – 4G 8A 12P

Tarasenko – 5G 4A 9P

Bjugstad – 3G 3A 6P

Johansen – 1G 5A 6P

Hall – 2G 3A 5P

Niederreiter – 3G 1A 4P

Granlund – 1G 3A 4P


Schwartz – 0G 4A 4P (injured)

Burmsitrov 1G 2A 3P

Skinner 1G 1A 2P

Any questions?

6. Down the QE II in Calgary, the Flames did a face plant out of the starting blocks this season. But, after a win over Detroit, there is some hope things will turn around.

Was that win a springboard?

Or just a one-off?

The 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings was a huge relief for the club. More important though was how the Flames won, and we’re not talking about third-period comebacks or overtime success.

They controlled the play for the bulk of the game notably after the first period. They won puck battles, created chances (dare we mention the Corsi word) and kept with the program even when behind.

In short, it was the kind of start-to-finish outing needed for success, especially from a team which had looked more fragile than a baby bird in most of the losses to start the season.

The trick will be to build off the game, show more of the same against some tough competition, and string a decent stretch together. Wins won’t come easily, but similar efforts in each outing will result in some form of success.


The Flames now head out on a 5 games in 7 nights road trip and I expect their fate will be decided in less than 2 weeks.

7. Finally, who knows what to make of the Anaheim Ducks. They are, IMO, one of the most talented and deepest teams in the league and yet they are sporting a 1-5-1 record. Their next 3 games are on the road against Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis so it’s conceivable they could end up with only 1 win in their first 10 games. If anything near that catastrophe does happen, notably will Bruce Boudreaux be looking for work, but it will throw the Pacific Division race wide open. Since we have to pretty much cede 5 playoff spots to the Central Division, teams that can surge between now and Halloween can make a pretty strong bid to be above the cut off line by American Thanksgiving.

Should be a fascinating week ahead.


15 thoughts on “The Fermi Paradox

  1. I think we get it sir….you are against any decision the Oilers have ever made since you stopped being a fan.

    Yes, Tyler is better than Taylor…..but Hall is still a great talent.

    Why compare Seguin to RNH?…You always say, when in doubt take the center. Did they not do that with Nuge? His draft was weak, and he’s been the most responsible fwd for two years now.

    You being a Flames apologist, and a Seguin statue maker is only further proof you are writing a blog with the sole intent to backhand anything Oilers, because you cant mention the Flames without condemning the Oilers and you cant lift up Seguin without degrading Hall.

    Its a shame…Ive always agreed with you that a forward needs to go to shore up the D, and that Hall would be the easiest and most logical move, but that is in no way a dig at Hall. To you it is.

    The Oilers up untill McDavid, had the unfortunate luck to draft 1st over all in years where the consensus 1st overall wasn’t a slam dunk but a consensus first overall nonetheless. Only the MacKinnon- Jones draft can compare in the last 8 years.


    1. I compare Seguin to RNH because they are playing the same role for their respective teams and the results speak for themselves. As for Hall, it’s become obvious that he compares very well to Phil Kessel which is to say he’s a very good offensive threat but doesn’t bring much more to the party and it appears he’s not even the best offensive player from his draft.

      Results matter.


  2. I’ve admitted more often than not that the Oilers should have taken Seguin but here is the million dollar question.

    What would Hall look like on Chicago or St.Louis.

    The whole time Hall has been an Oiler they have never had a top two pairing defensmen.

    Which means the whole time Hall has played as an Oiler, Petry was his best defensmen.

    Meanwhile Seguin got Chara – Boychuk and so on

    Tarasenko gets arguable one of the leagues best defences

    That goes on all the way down the list.

    I’ve seen every Oiler game this year and while the Oilers are WAY more competitive the defence is still awful, there is one defensmen on the Oilers who can skate and outlet at the same time and he’s having a tough year (Klefbom)

    I admit I’m bias but I’m not even sure it’s fair to judge Hall RNH and Eberle until the Oilers can get some type of legitimate D core back there.


    1. The defence Seguin has had behind him in Dallas have not been elite by any measure.

      It is also a two way street. Good forward support for the defence takes pressure off them and makes them better. Effective forechecking, relentless backpressure on the backcheck and flawless defensive coverage (whether zone or man to man) are concepts foreign to both Hall and Eberle. Flying the zone when the opponents still control the puck or hanging at the offensive blue line while their teammates try to defend shorthanded are common occurrences. Even RNH makes way more defensive errors than Oiler apologists will ever admit.


      1. This just reinforces my original issues.

        Dallas defense is still miles better than the Oilers, are you kidding me right now?

        Sekera and maybe, maybe Klefbom are legit top four options….Thats it!

        Now your talking about the forwards, well lets look at Dallas.

        You have Benn 6’2 210 and the best LW/C in the league.

        You have Spezza at 6’3 220

        You have Sharpe 6’1 210

        This goes on and on and on, size leadership and experience.

        Who does Hall have?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Thats crickets by by the way.

        This is not on Hall by any means. Its on the Oilers organization. Full Stop.

        Fact is, everyone only has a limited knowledge of what kind of player he can be.


        1. You’re making far too many excuses for the Oilers my friend.

          Dallas has 3 D in their lineup…Klingberg, Jokipakka and Nemeth…all with less than 75 games in the NHL. While Goligoski is a decent top pairing D he’s far from a superstar.

          Hall is also far from alone…he has THREE #1 overall picks to help him as well as a top 20 RW in Eberle.

          If he can’t get the job done with that kind of help you have to think he can’t get the job done at all.


          1. I’m not trying to making excuses.

            Hall not playing well to start the year because Eberle is hurt is an excuse.

            Hall not playing to potential is a fact of life as an Oiler.

            Regardless of the defense Dallas has, the Stars overall are stronger – Fact – Bigger – Fact – More experience in every facet of the game – Fact

            Klefbom has yet to play a full season 70 games in 3 season
            Reinhart has played 12 games
            Nurse – 3 games.
            Gryba – 175
            Schultz – 200

            So basically we call a spade a spade here – this is suppose to be the future of the Oilers defense…….WOULD you take any of thses players save for Nurse?

            Meanwhile – Dallas has Klingberg as you mentioned with a huge breakout year last year and is a point per game so far this year.
            Goligoski as you mentioned is a legit top four at least, plus you have Oduya ( Stanley cup winning leadership) and Benn who is extremely steady back there and always seems to be right around the even mark in +/- area, I’m no analytical guy but that sounds like a far better bet then Fayne – Gryba and Ference god help us.

            These aren’t excuses, clearly the Dallas stars are far superior to the Oilers in almost every postion on the ice!

            This reiterates how important a balanced team is to winning and what it does for players, If you did catch the Oilers vs Wild game last night then you can clearly see my point, Not one line could get the puck out of the Oilers end, not one. because they don’t have the players to move the puck.

            I stand by what I see and say, I’m not making excuses, until this team gets a balanced line up all those kids aren’t playing up to potential. ( I do not include Yakupov on that kid list, I feel he’s solely benefiting from McDavid and is seriously causing defensive issues)

            It’s like asking a V-6 to perform like a Cummings Turbo Diesel with these kids.

            anyways, makes for good debate.


  3. One problem with Corsi is the assumption that all shots are created equal. Sure, Hall may be leading the league in shooting, but, McLellan’s defense non-withstanding (after all, what did you expect him to say in public?) very few of those shots are actually scoring chances. I expect that we will see some of the high Corsi teams improve, they have just been experiencing bad luck, and others will not because they are not actually producing scoring chances.

    Recent work with breaking down shots into high, medium and low danger appears to have much greater value. While not perfect, (a Subban slapper from the point going through a double screen is high danger) I believe that the data will show over time a high degree of correlation between the generation and prevention of high danger scoring chances and team success. The present defensive philosophy of collapsing to the front of the net is a recognition of the importance of preventing shots from this area.

    In regards to Calgary, are they now regressing to the team that they should have been last year? There is no question that they don’t have the swagger right now. Is Brodie much more important to team success than Giordano? However, they will be going nowhere unless the goaltending improves. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

    Second guessing on drafting is fun, but hindsight is 20/20. Both Hall and Seguin were high talents with character issues, Hall more dynamic, Seguin smarter. Positional bias would have made a big difference to me. As for Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov, those were incredibly weak draft years and no one really stood out. The Oilers in every case went with the consensus number one. This is where outstanding amateur scouting is invaluable. It is no coincidence that most of the Oiler amateur and pro scouting staff have been shown the door. Watching Korpikoski, Gryba and Rienhart, however, makes me wonder if the new staff is any better.


  4. I have done a lot of thinking about the Calgary goaltending situation the last couple of days.

    There are three main areas that affect goaltenders; athleticism, technical skills and mental. Of the three, the one that is the most variable is the mental aspect, with confidence being a key component. This is why many people consider goalies to be voodoo, we can’t look in their head and see the turmoil when things are not going well.

    Nowadays, kids of 11 and 12 years old are being instructed in relaxation and visualization techniques in order to help deal with the stress of playing the position.

    The belief that the organization has his back is why Dubnyk went from a goalie that no one wanted to a Vezina finalist. (not that Dubnyk is an elite goaltender, he lacks the athleticism)

    I really like Hartley as a coach, but publicly calling out his goalies is, IMO, a really bad move. The spiel should have gone, “We know our goalies can play, better, they have won a lot of games for us in the past. They also know that they can play better, we need to work together to get them back to form.”

    Who knows why Hiller and Ramo have started out poorly. Calgary’s lack of scoring has put a great deal of pressure on them, they have needed to be perfect, but have not been up to it. This is unlike last year, when they always seemed to come through when the team was having issues scoring. Nobody wants to be poor at their job, especially when 18 000 people are sitting there evaluating you. Having your boss publicly rip you apart is just piling on and is counterproductive to regaining confidence.


  5. Top 5 teams in SAT 5×5 since 2010 (all stats from

    Los Angeles Kings 54.89 01111
    Chicago Blackhawks 53.74 11111
    Detroit Red Wings 53.14 11111
    Boston Bruins 52.68 01111
    St. Louis Blues 52.58 11110

    Number of playoff appearance out 22/25
    Number of Stanly cup appearances 6/10
    Number of Stanley Cups by those teams 5 of 5

    Bottom 5 teams in SAT 5×5 since 2010

    Calgary Flames 47.42 00001
    Colorado Avalanche 47.21 00010
    Toronto Maple Leafs 46.31 00100
    Edmonton Oilers 46.29 00000
    Buffalo Sabres 45.18 10000

    Number of playoff appearances in the time out 4 of 25, no finals, no Stanley cups

    Simple fact, it is better to outshoot your opponents than not. I don’t know why this is a debated subject.


    1. No argument from me that outshooting your opponent is a good idea nor that it leads to winning but using SAT to predict the future is fraught with peril.

      Teams (see Toronto this season) can outshoot their opponents and still be shitty. Conversely, you get situations like that in LA, when you have dominant possession and don’t even make the playoffs.

      NHL teams are often very fluid changing coaches, strategies and players.

      And,of course, goaltending can swing results in a huge way.

      Montreal, for example, isn’t outshooting their opponents but have the best record in the NHL.


  6. Why using 10 games at the start of one season is not a good measure of players

    Old list

    Seguin – 4G 8A 12P

    Tarasenko – 5G 4A 9P

    Bjugstad – 3G 3A 6P

    Johansen – 1G 5A 6P

    Hall – 2G 3A 5P

    Niederreiter – 3G 1A 4P

    Granlund – 1G 3A 4P


    Schwartz – 0G 4A 4P (injured)

    Burmsitrov 1G 2A 3P

    Skinner 1G 1A 2P

    —–New List—–

    Seguin – 4G 10A 14P

    Hall – 4G 6A 10P

    Tarasenko – 6G 4A 10P

    Bjugstad – 3G 3A 6P

    Johansen – 1G 5A 6P

    Niederreiter – 3G 2A 5P

    Granlund – 1G 4A 5P

    Connolly – 3G 1A 4P

    Schwartz – 0G 4A 4P (injured)

    Burmsitrov 1G 2A 3P

    Skinner 1G 1A 2P

    Not sure what the point of this is. Is there some sort of debate about Hall and Seguin that matters.


    1. 10 games is just a snapshot and of course success in one or two games can certainly changes things when working from such a small sample size.

      But you also need to recognize that Hall has played 11 games while the others are 10 or fewer.

      Seguin is scoring 1.4 PPG while Hall is scoring .909.

      Projected over a full season that gives Seguin 114 points and Hall 74 points.

      That’s a huge margin in Seguin’s favour.


  7. Man, I had a feeling the Flames weren’t as good as the record suggested last year, I had a feeling they would regress but this is a catastrophic regression.
    There in deep.
    I’m not even sure it’s just the goal tending ether this year, that game tonight vs the HABS was just as much on defense as it was on goal tending.


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